Aquaculture has received increasing attention and seen many important developments since 2001, as illustrated by the fact that the world's first inter-governmental body to specialize in this field, the Sub-Committee on Aquaculture of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, met in Beijing in the Spring of 2002. The purpose of "The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture" (SOFIA) is to provide some of the knowledge required for understanding the fisheries sector. In Part 1 of SOFIA 2002, the situation in China is reported separately whenever doing otherwise might hide significant differences between developments in China and developments in the rest of the world. Part 2 highlights important issues, some of which are not new, such as the difficulty and importance of obtaining reliable fishery statistics and the plight of small-scale and artisanal fishers, while others have emerged more recently, including catch certification, antibiotics and aquaculture and an ecosystems framework for fisheries management. Part 3 contains reports on three studies that have been published recently by FAO. Part 4 reports on the findings of studies on future fish consumption and speculates about the future implications of the rising costs of capture fisheries.
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